Learning Brazilian Portuguese in 2 Months

Not speaking the native language of a country you are visiting can be a very lonely feeling, as well as hold you back from some awesome experiences. Especially if you are travelling alone. I’ve dealt with this a couple of times now. When I went to Central America I could barely speak a word of Spanish. And it was tough for me to find people there that spoke English. So I brushed up on my Spanish very quickly and that helped me out a lot. By the end of the trip I had learned a lot (and re-learned a lot). The next place I found myself in the same situation was in Brazil. I made some friends that spoke English, but much of the time I was either travelling alone, or with groups of people the mainly spoke Portuguese. This time I decided to take things a little farther and really try to learn this language. Not just enough to get by, but to be able to speak fluently. I am now 2.5 months into learning the Portuguese language, and I have learned a lot! There are several things that have helped me to learn quickly. Here is a breakdown: DuoLingo. You can use the website on your computer or the app on your mobile device. And it’s completely free. It has various ways of presenting words and sentences to you, then you must translate. It has audio for all the words as well so you can learn the correct pronunciations. Using this has been extremely helpful, and as you can see I’m only at 40%, so I will... read more

Couchsurfing to Learn How to Surf

One day I decided I wanted to learn how to surf. But I live in Michigan. We have large lakes here of course that some people surf on, but only usually when the waves get big enough from a storm rolling in. I wanted to chill out at the beach on a nice sunny day, watch the dolphins swimming through the waves, and paddle out there on a surfboard. So I did what anyone would. Put ads on Craigslist in San Diego, CA asking for people to help me learn how to surf. Then I opened an account on and started looking for my first ever couchsurfing host. There were a few people that invited me to come stay on their couches for free, but one really stood out. It was 3 roommates that lived in an awesome condo in Oceanside just a couple blocks from the beach. And they surf. Which I’m pretty sure is something you HAVE to do if you live in Oceanside. I was sold. Since this was both my first time couchsurfing, and it was their first time hosting, I’m not sure any of us knew what to expect. I arrive at the house in the evening, and within about two minutes of walking in the door I was offered a drink. A good strong drink. I knew I was going to like couchsurfing! After a late night out, and way too many drinks, I was woke up at around 7am by one of the girls (I had maybe 3 hours of sleep), and was told it was time to learn how to surf.... read more